Chancroid: Causes and Symptoms You Must Know

Chancroid is a bacterial disease that is often transmitted by way of sexual intercourse. It is often characterized by sores that are painful found on the genitalia of the affected persons. The infection is usually more widespread in men than it is for women. It has been established that the only way that disease is transmitted from one individual to another is by sexual intercourse. What this means is that the risk of infection can be reduced by abstinence from sex or practicing safe sex by using condoms every time.

What Causes Chancroid?


The infection is caused by a bacterium known as Heamophilus ducrey. It is more prevalent in the developing world, which is Africa and Southwest Asia. Usually after the bacteria enter the body it may take from 1 day to 2 weeks for a bump to show up on the genitals.

Who is at a Great Risk of Contracting Chancroid?

People who are sexually active are at a high risk of contracting chancroid because it is highly spread by way of sexual intercourse. People living in third world countries that lack the basic health care facilities and resources are also at an increased risk of the infection. This may explain the reason why the infection is more prevalent in the developing world.

The Symptoms of Chancroid

The symptoms of chancroid in men and women are different but the symptoms typically start to show in one day to a number of weeks after a person has been infected.

  • Symptoms In Men – Infected men may notice a small red lump on their genitals which may change to sore that is open within one day or two. The ulcer may manifest itself on any part of the genital including the manhood and the scrotum.
  • Symptoms In Women – Women infected with the bacteria may develop a number of red lumps on the labia, or between the labia and the anus or on the thighs. Women whose lumps have become ulcerated may experience painful urination and defecation. Other symptoms in women infected include painful sexual intercourse, rectal bleeding and vaginal discharge.

More Symptoms in Both Men and Women

These symptoms below may be seen in both men and women:

  • Ulcers may have varying sizes but may range between 1/8 to 2 inches across.
  • The sores or ulcers usually have a soft center that can be gray to yellowish-gray with sharp edges.
  • There are instances where the ulcers will bleed easily if touched.
  • There instances where pain will be felt by the affected persons during urination or sexual intercourse.
  • Painful open sores usually found in the genitals of infected men and women.

Diagnosis For Chancroid

Diagnosing chancroid usually involves the taking of samples of the fluid that oozes out of the sores. Once the sample has been collected they are taken to the laboratory for examination and analysis. Currently there is no blood testing for chancroid but a qualified physician can also examine the swollen lymph node found in the groin area.

Is There Treatment for Chancroid?

Chancroid can be treated with medication but there are cases where the infection can simply clear up on their own even without treatment. It is better to seek treatment for chancroid because it speeds up the healing of the sores and also eliminates the possibility of re-infection.

What Kind of Medication is Used in The Treatment of Chancroid?

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to patients of chancroid to kill the bacteria which cause the ulcers. The antibiotics also help to also help to limit the possibility of the scarring of the ulcers as they heal.

When Surgery Becomes an Option Treatment

Patients with painful and large abscess in their lymph nodes may undergo minor surgeries. This helps to reduce the inflammation and pain as the patient wait for the sore to heal.

What are Other Ways by Which Chancroid will be Spread?

Chancroid is highly contagious and can be spread easily through skin-to-skin contact. This makes it easily spread among people who share sex toys such as dildos and vibrators that have had contact with the ulcers. Touching on an infected person’s sore can also get someone an infection even without sexual intercourse. It calls for much care when handling an infected person to reduce the chances of an infection spreading.


Chancroid is a bacterial infection that is mostly sexually transmitted but can also be transmitted via close contact of skin of affected people. The disease is usually highly contagious and will take 1 to 2 weeks to manifest after infection. To avoid the risk of contracting the infection people are advised to abstain from sex. Those who cannot abstain from sexual intercourse are advised to use condoms to reduce their risk of contracting the disease. The disease is more prevalent in the developing world as compared to developed countries. This is usually attributed to the lack of sufficient and comprehensive health care facilities and resources in the developing world.